Exclusive: Ford Ranger and VW Amarok to go electric this decade


Volkswagen and Ford are expediting an all-electric version of the jointly-developed Ford Ranger and VW Amarok twins, say executives in Germany.


Volkswagen is helping fast-track development of an electric version of the upcoming second-generation Amarok – a twin under the skin the new Ford Ranger – and Australian-based engineers are poised to play a key role in its development.

The German automotive giant has teamed up with Ford Australia on the zero-emissions ute, which is planned for production in the second half of this decade as a smaller and potentially more efficient alternative to the likes of the Tesla Cybertruck and Rivian R1T electric pick-ups.

The partnership is an extension of the alliance which has seen Volkswagen and Ford develop the second-generation Amarok and fourth-generation Ranger alongside each other in a program based at Ford Australia’s engineering headquarters in Victoria.

“We’re looking at a pure electric version,” said Lars Krause, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicle board member responsible for marketing, during a media presentation for the new Amarok in Wolfsburg, Germany. “It is still early, but it is something we are considering within the lifecycle.”


The move to begin engineering studies into a purely electric version of the new Amarok comes after Volkswagen decided not to adopt the petrol-electric plug-in hybrid drivetrain earmarked for is sister model, the Ford Ranger, in 2023.

Despite the initial interest in a plug-in hybrid version of the new Amarok – particularly in European markets where upcoming EU7 emission legislation has the scope to severely penalise petrol and diesel versions of the new ute – Volkswagen says a PHEV variant would only make sense with a longer electric-driving range than has been developed by Ford.

“Right now, we’re not satisfied with the electric range of the plug-in hybrid. I’d never say never, but we’re looking more towards a full electric version,” Krause told Drive.

The Volkswagen executive says the chassis used by the new VW Amarok and Ford Ranger – a box steel structure developed by Ford – could accept a pure electric drivetrain and battery pack.

“Yes, we think it is possible. Obviously, we’d need to modify certain elements. But, yes, we are seriously considering an electric variant,” said Krause.


Volkswagen plans to invest up to $A250 billion across its portfolio of brands into the development of electric vehicles this decade. 

While Volkswagen is yet to officially pinpoint the electric Amarok as one of the models it plans to introduce, the German car maker’s commercial vehicles division is fully integrated into the program, having secured a key role in the engineering of the new Volkswagen ID range. 

The VW ID Buzz is produced at the commercial division’s manufacturing headquarters in Hannover, Germany – and has also engineered an electric version of the Multivan in partnership with ABT.

Earlier this month, in a separate interview with Drive in Australia, Ian Foston, the global chief engineer for the new Ford Ranger and Volkswagen Amarok twins, confirmed the updated platform can accomodate electric power. 

A plug-in hybrid petrol version of the new Ford Ranger has already been spotted testing in Europe – where it is expected to launch in that guise first.


Drive understands a plug-in petrol-electric version of the Ford Ranger may follow in Australia about 12 months after the arrival of the regular line-up – ahead of a fully-electric variant, if local customers demand it.

“We can’t confirm where we are heading, but we are looking at all the technology we are deploying at Ford (to be applied to the new Ranger),” Foston told Drive earlier this month.

“We’ve got a bandwidth of electrification hardware that enables us to go anywhere from a 24-volt mild hybrid all the way through to a full electric version.

“With Ranger and the T6 platform (the codename given to vehicles based off the Ranger chassis) we’re looking at that and saying, at a point in time, ‘what would the customer want?’ And then we can provide that energy option to them.”

Kable is one of Europe’s leading automotive journalists. The Aussie expat lives in Germany and has some of the world’s most powerful executives on speed dial.

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